After 26 years and global sales of around 150 million albums, U2, arguably the world's biggest band, have quit the record label that discovered them.
Insiders claimed yesterday that the band's members, led by Bono, became fed up with the Island Records' senior management's "hands-off" approach towards them, despite their having generated hundreds of millions of pounds for the label.
Friends said yesterday that the final straw came during a recent recording session in London. While Bono and the band worked on new tracks to add to their latest "Best of" compilation, no one from Island Records dropped by to meet them. One observer claimed this "put their noses out of joint" and did nothing to help the deteriorating relationship. Their closest ally at the label, the former general manager Jason Iley, was appointed managing director of Mercury Records last year, and the band have now followed him there.
U2 have frequently said they owe their career to Island and that its founding boss, Chris Blackwell, was instrumental to their career. No other label had shown any interest in giving them a deal when the band were signed in 1980.
Despite leaving Island, the band will remain within the Universal Music Group. The first release on the new label will be a charity single next month.